Attorney Profile

John was born and raised on the Central Coast. He graduated from high school and headed off to the University of California at Davis, where he majored in neurobiology, physiology, and behavioral sciences. He wanted to be a small-town doctor, until a chance encounter with legendary local trial lawyer, Sam Lavorato, changed his mind. John saw how regular folks, needed extraordinary representation just to protect their rights against corporate giants looking to make a buck. He gave up on med school, and dedicated himself to becoming a trial lawyer, who could help people who had been wronged. He also met his future wife. 

John got an LSAT scholarship, and headed off to law school in San Diego. He excelled in practical classes, earning high grade awards in persuasive legal writing, and trial practice. He second chaired trials with Sam as a certified law student. He also forged a lifelong friendship with Clay Griessmeyer, who he regularly collaborates with. John graduated in May 2007, passed the bar the first time out, and started practicing law in Salinas. Attorney McCarthy yearned for high stakes litigation, and so he went to work at an employment defense firm, representing large agricultural employers in “bet the company” cases where, if they lost, the company was likely to go under. While it was rewarding to defend companies that made home, home, against some frivolous lawsuits, John always rooted for the underdog. So, he and his wife moved back to San Diego, where he hung out his shingle, and started his own practice. He sought to represent good people, who had been clearly wronged, and just wanted what they were entitled to under the law. He did that, and quickly became known as one of the top young attorneys in San Diego, California, and even the United States. 

As John continued to grow as a person and attorney, he was fortunate enough to learn from some of the top trial lawyers in the country, and to count them as friends and colleagues. His practice expanded.  He started taking on more personal injury work for the first time since he worked with Sam, and and he was admitted into the Wisconsin bar so he could work more with Clay. Family has always been important to John and his wife. So, when they had the opportunity to move their family back to the Central Coast, during the pandemic, they jumped at it. Now they live about 10 minutes from John’s parents, about 20 minutes from John’s sister, and about an hour-and-a-half from his in-laws. While John’s practice has expanded, he has always been true to his roots. He’s still the guy who was born and raised on the Central Coast, who always wanted to help regular folks get the help they needed. 

When he’s not fighting for people’s rights, he’s spending time with the people he loves. He’s typically discussing politics, or books, or philosophy. But, you can also find him listening to music, or playing the guitar. He’s a bigtime movie buff. He’s a diehard fan of the Giants, Sharks, and 49ers. He enjoys traveling, cooking, and brewing. He loves spending time in the great outdoors.  

Industry Recognition

  • Top 40 Under 40- The National Advocates. 
  • Rising Star- Super Lawyers Magazine. 
  • Top 40 Labor and Employment Lawyers Under 40- American Society of Legal Advocates. 
  • Best of the Bar- San Diego Business Journal.
  • Top Attorney, Labor and Employment Semi-Finalist- San Diego Daily Transcript. 
  • Outstanding Young Attorney-San Diego Daily Transcript.
  • Top Employment Attorney, 10.0 Rating- Avvo.
  • “The Coming Tide- Social Media Use in Litigation”- ABA Tort Trial and Insurance Practice. 

Bar Admissions

  • Supreme Court of California
  • United States District Court for the Northern District of California 
  • United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit 
  • United States District Court for the Eastern District of California 
  • United States District Court for the Southern District of California 
  • Wisconsin Supreme Court
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McCarthy Law